The 30 Watt Solar Panel:
A 30 Watt solar panel could be just what the solar doctor ordered.
Okay maybe there's no such thing as a solar doctor (although sometimes I wish there was).
Nevertheless, if you need a panel that will produce a significant amount of power but also offers a degree of portability, the 30 Watt variety could be just the medicine you need.
We'll take a look at how much power one of these panels will produce and we'll also provide the results of an internet wide search for the best prices available on a 30 Watt module. By then you should know almost everything you need to know about these 30 Watt bad boys.
First, however, let's find out where a 30 Watt solar module fits into the grand scheme of things as far as solar panel sizes are concerned.
We have recently taken a look at the 15 Watt solar panel and what it has to offer. Although the 15 Watt module offers only half the power of the 30 Watt it is not the smallest panel around by a long shot.
The range of available solar panels extends from the 1 Watt Sunforce 50013 Solar Charger to the 350 Watt MPE-350-AL-01 from Schuco. The vast middle ground is composed of everything from the 15-watt Solar Battery Charger by iMob to the 60 Watt PowerTour RV solar panel from PowerFilm to the high efficiency 200 Watt HIT Double from Sanyo.
The amount of solar panel wattage that is right for you will depend on a few different factors. How much you want to spend on a solar panel is one of the obvious things that will have an impact on which panel you purchase.
Although you might have to spend more per Watt when you purchase a smaller panel, your overall cost will usually be lower. You will have to weigh the 'cost per watt' vs 'overall cost' and decide which approach best fits your budget. You will also have to decide whether it is worth your while to spend more money on a high efficiency solar panel.
Another highly important factor is the work you plan on doing with your chosen solar panel. A 300 Watt panel would be overkill if you're looking for a solar iPod charger but it could be perfect as part of a rooftop solar panel system. Knowing what you need is half the battle.
The third factor to consider when buying a solar panel is how portable you need the panel to be. The main benefit of choosing a small solar panel over its bulkier counterpart is that you can take it anyplace you need to go. This is especially important if you are in the market for a solar phone charger or other portable solar power solution.
Since you're probably already considering a 30 Watt solar panel, let's take a look at some of the things that a panel with this kind of power can do. Some of the recommended uses for a 30 Watt solar panel include:
Some 30 Watt solar modules like the GEPV-030-M from General Electric are specifically designed for low-capacity 12 to 24 volt DC systems and can supply 3 amps of battery-charging current in full sunlight.
Now that you know some of the things you can do with a 30 Watt solar panel, let's take a look at some of the panel prices available with the help of our old friend the internet (Remember that solar power cost is fluctuating constantly so these prices can become outdated quite quickly).
At the low end of the price scale is the Suntech STP030P which is selling for $99.00 at UL Solar. The company is also selling these panels on eBay for the same price with free shipping.
On Amazon there was a Tektrum 30w solar panel with clamps and cable for $133.85 and the HQRP 30 Watt Monocrystalline Flexible Solar Panel for $149.91.
The TPS-24-30 by Tycon Power Systems is a 30 Watt panel that is selling for $169.95 on the Streakwave website and the thin film GSE 30 is selling for $198.76 at Affordable Solar.
You can pick up the 30 Watt BP-330J from British Petroleum for $284.95 at Fondriest Environmental. This panel weighs only eight and a half pounds so it could work well for portable applications.
The Boulder 30 Watt monocrystalline solar panel is available for $299.99 at Goal Zero Canada.
Now to the high end of the price scale with the foldable, flexible PowerFilm 30 which sells for $549.99 at Modern Outpost. With this panel you are paying a premium for the portability as the description promises that it "folds smaller than a binder".
This should give you a good start in your quest for a 30 Watt solar panel.